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The Ups and Downs of Paralysis

Falling Asleep

It was around noon when my legs felt like they were falling asleep. After 20-30 minutes passed, I felt like I was losing the ability to move them. Within 3 hours, I lost the ability to ambulate. The doctors did not know what had happened and it took over a month for them to discover that I had an event in the region of T11-T12 of my spine (Stroke). I was in Rehab for 5 weeks before I was discharged. I returned to work three months after my injury. This transition was difficult, but I have always enjoyed solving problems! Rehab and physical therapy have played a major role in the progress that I've made. Between my family, work, and PT I stay extremely busy. Over the course of this past year I have regained the ability to stand and ambulate short distances with arm crutches! Prior to my injury I enjoyed working with metal. This has transitioned into building my own wheelchair parts/hand controls and fixing others chairs. I have ambitions to build a few chairs for others that can not afford one or that need extreme modifications to existing chairs. Life is GOOD! Smile. express gratitude, laugh and tell those you care about that you love them!

Traveling by air

A month after my injury, I travelled to Hawaii for my brother in laws wedding with my family. I have been working with or for an airline for the last 5 years. This experience along with friends that I've made in industry helped ease my fears about traveling in a wheelchair. Overall, my experience was exceptional and I was treated with care and respect. I have flown on numerous occasions since then. My tips to others is to politely remind the ground crew about the value of the wheelchair. I always try to create a personal connection with those handling my wheelchair because IT IS MY LEGS! Once they understand that I feel that the chair is handled with care. I also prefer to watch them load my chair prior to boarding if possible. Also, arrive as early as possible. You will be searched very thouroughly by the TSA. Drink plenty of fluids and cath/bowel program prior to flying.

Recreational Therapy

I love being outside. Prior to my injury I rode mountain bikes and rode motorcycles, boated, and went 4 wheeling in my Jeep. Post injury I have transitioned to boating and four wheeling. Our boat is operated by hand only, so that was one of the first things I got back into post injury. the difficult part was learning how to get in/out of the boat. I used a gantry/engine hoist to get in and out initially. I have since transitioned to leaning up against the back and using my arms to pull myself in. It is refreshing to spend time with the family out on the lake.

Working on my Jeep has been one of the best forms of therapy. While repairing broken parts or swapping things out I get the best functional physical therapy. My abs, arms, back, legs etc. have benefitted from just "working on the Jeep."

Paralyzed Dad

My Daughter was 1 when I was paralyzed. The first month was difficult for both of us. I struggled with how I was going to help care for her. Over the past year we have figured out how to help each other out. She has been the best "power assist" for my wheelchair! She likes to push me into walls whenever possible. She is now able to get in and out of our vehicles and carseat all by herself (She's almost 3). Any day now we are expecting our second child. I am nervous but feel that we will be able to conquer any challenges that surface.

Being a Husband

I am lucky. Very Lucky. Arent we all? My Wife is a Pediatric Nurse at a local hospital. Between managing initial care and various follow up issues, she has been nothing but a blessing. Her knowledge and skills have helped throughout this challenge. It has been important for us to find a new balance with our lives. We find joy in each others accomplishments and in supporting eachother throughout lifes challenges.

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About me.... T11-T12 incomplete paraplegic. My family is RAD and so are airplanes.





Blake Millett

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